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Sarasota Wednesday, Nov. 27, 2019 1 year ago

School board considering policy to allow administration of medical marijuana

The policy would make the school board compliant with state law.
by: Brynn Mechem Staff Writer

The Sarasota County School Board, following a state directive, has proposed a policy that would allow medical marijuana to be administered to students on school property. 

Sarasota County Schools' proposed policy would allow only parents or licensed caregivers to have access to the qualifying student to administer the medicinal marijuana under strict controls on campus. School nurses or other staff would not be responsible for administering or storing the medical marijuana. 

To qualify, a student must be a state resident in Florida's registry of medical marijuana or low THC cannabis use and have a qualified patient identification card.

As a general rule, a qualifying student would only receive medical marijuana at school if it cannot reasonably be administered outside of school hours.  

Suzanne Dubose, the supervisor of school health services, told the school board that approximately 11 students districtwide would fall under these qualifications, with most of them having prescriptions for seizures. 

Board member Shirley Brown questioned under what circumstances the medical marijuana would be used, emergency or preventative.  

“To this point, we have asked that medical marijuana be administered outside the school day because it is not considered an emergency medicine,” Dubose said “This is just something that can be prescribed to keep them leveled so that they don’t suffer from seizures in the school setting.”

Pursuant to the policy, the medical marijuana would be administered in a designated location such as the nurse’s office or a building administrator’s office. Parents or caregivers are not allowed to administer the medical marijuana on school buses or at school events. 

Additionally, the medical marijuana — which could only be in the form of oils, tinctures, edible products or lotions that can be administered and fully ingested or absorbed in a short period of time — is not allowed to be stored on any school property. Instead, the parent or caregiver would bring the medical marijuana with them, administer it to the student and immediately take it off school property. 

Florida law mandate that every school district write a policy on medical marijuana. However, federal law still says that any marijuana — medical or recreational — is illegal. 

Because of the discrepancy, some board members were worried federal funds would be effected, so there is a clause written in the policy that states if the district’s federal funds are jeopardized because of the policy, the policy will be suspended. 

All Florida public schools are supposed to have a compliant policy in place by December 1, but the school board likely won't have its approved for adoption until mid-January.

“The school board approved the policy as-written to be advertised accordingly,” district spokeswoman Tracey Beeker said. “It is unlikely the policy will change prior to adoption. However, we have to do our due diligence in our community.”


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